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They Just Don’t Get It.

A local gun store is charging $50 for a FFL transfers, which is twice as much as other stores around me are charging. Their theory is that someone who transfers in a gun to their store clearly isn’t a regular customer and so why not stick ’em for $50 and get them out the door?

That’s… a theory. Let’s take a look at two harsh truths, however.

The first truth is that in-person FFL transfers are the only reason that local gun stores exist right now. Without them, we’d be buying guns off the ballistic equivalent of Amazon and having them shipped to our house.

Yes, I know, most of you want exactly that, but that ain’t the reality we live in. Let’s stick to the here and now, shall we?

I worked in the retail camera industry for a half-dozen years, and I watched as practically every small local camera store was forced out of business by big-box electronics stores, which were then forced out of business by Amazon and other online retailers. Once digital took over, there simply was no reason to go to your local camera store or photo lab anymore, and so they passed on into memory.

Now pick up everything I said and apply it to your gun shop. The only reason they exist is because you have to hand somebody your ID and fill out a 4473. The minute that goes away, the local gun store is toast.

The second truth is how much it costs to acquire a new customer. The amount of money spent on advertising staggers the imagination, and all of it is focused on one thing: Get people to buy stuff from your company.

But what happens if we consider the lowly $25 or $30 transfer fee as something we offer to get people into our shop? Now instead of paying for ads, people pay us to come into our store and hang out for 20 minutes as they fill out their paperwork. That’s an opportunity to upset them on accessories for the new Hyperblaster 3000 they’re waiting to take home, or at the very least, see what other things you have to offer.

Most industries would KILL to have some method of bringing new customers into the store that makes the store money, rather than having to pay out funds for marketing and advertising, but the retail firearms industry, for some dumb reason, thinks that FFL transfers are a nuisance and overcharge for them. It’s literally their loss. Maybe one day they’ll figure that out.